Syria Opposition Undecided on Peace Conference

GENEVA, June 5 (RIA Novosti) – The main obstacle in talks between Russia, the United States and the United Nations regarding the conflict in Syria is that the Syrian opposition has not decided whether it would attend an international peace conference, a Russian deputy foreign minister said Wednesday.

“Unlike the Syrian government, the opposition has in principle not decided on its participation in such a conference,” Gennady Gatilov said. “Another problem is that it has no vision about the makeup of its delegation.”

The diplomat added that Russia, the UN and the US had so far failed to agree on whether Iran and Saudi Arabia would be able to participate in the conference. “That is still subject to further discussion,” he said.

International envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said after the talks that the conference could be held in July.

Martin Nesirky, a spokesman for the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, said the UN chief “would wish to see progress made there [in Geneva] in the push for a political solution.” US Department of State spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said the United States expected no breakthroughs to be made during the meeting.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced in early May after a Moscow meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry that the two countries had decided to hold an international conference aimed at facilitating a solution through political dialogue to the Syrian crisis, in which more than 80,000 people have died since fighting broke out between government forces and rebels in March 2011.

The conference is designed to be a follow-up to last summer’s international meeting in Geneva that drafted a peace roadmap for Syria.


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